If you’re anything like me, you have your flavors. You know what I’m talking about; the ones you spend time thinking about changing, just to be adventurous and try something new, only to panic at the last minute and go with your fall-back. It’s the reason that I’ve been ordering the teriyaki chicken burger at Red Robin for the last twenty-something years of my life and why when placed in a stressful situation, I often burst out with panicked screams of “Chocolate! I’ll go with chocolate!” Fall-backs are always safe. Here are mine:

— If it’s ice cream or any sort of baked good, I’ll almost always steer toward something Chocolate Peanut Butter or Chocolate Mint. (Seeing a trend here?)

— If it’s candy, beverage or fruity food, I’ll choose citrus hands down, in the following order: Lime. Lime. Lime. Lime. Lime. Lemon. Orange.

— And if it’s candles, room sprays, lotions or potions, I’ll drool over anything involving cinnamon, vanilla, or any other flavor resembling something that could be coming out of my oven.

There are, however, 2 exceptions to this rule. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and DQ Blizzards. When it comes to those 2 things, my heart, soul and love handles belong to cherrychocolate and they always will. It’s a little habit that comes from my Mom and to this day I still think of her every time I eat that luscious combo.

I recently found fresh local cherries for quite a steal, so I started to work using them up. First I made this:

Using this awesome crust and instructions for lattice

And then I couldn’t stop thinking about cherry-chocolate ice cream. I don’t have a lot of prep pictures because I was making it up as I went and didn’t know how amazing it would taste until I was done. But all you really need is the finished product anyway, right?!

I’ve blabbered enough today. Let’s do this thing.

If this looks familiar, it’s because I swiped the custard base (and a picture…and some text…) from Kate’s Snickerdoodle Ice Cream. She won’t mind; we’re close like that.

Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

2 C cherries, pitted and halved or quartered (about 40-50 cherries)
1 4.5 oz dark chocolate bar (about 1 C shavings, but can’t go wrong with more)
1 1/2 c. 2% milk
1 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

Combine milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly. Very slowly, add 1/2 of the hot milk mixture, whisking the yolks constantly. Return pan with remaining milk mixture to stove top and then whisk the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. You need to be careful here to not get the eggs too hot too fast, or else they’ll curdle.
Add whipping cream. Over medium-low heat and stirring constantly, continue heating the custard mixture to 160 degrees. It will start to thicken quickly.

A good trick to test the custard mixture is to dip a spoon in and run your finger down the back of it. When your finger leaves a track, it’s ready.

Once ready, remove from heat and add chopped cherries immediately. Add vanilla and almond as well. Let the custard cool (you can use an ice bath if you want to speed that process up) and then place in the fridge to chill for several hours.

I usually make custard bases for ice creams the day/night before I want to use them. Or in the morning if I need it for that night. It takes quite a while for the mixture to get well-chilled, and it really will churn better if it’s super cool. So try to plan ahead so you can get the custard part out of the way. That way when you want to make an ice cream (and eat it soon after) you can whip it together in no time.

Back to cookin’…

Once the custard is cooled and chilled, pop it in your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.

While ice cream is churning, grate the chocolate. I use one of those large-sized Hershey bars (as seen in the picture of the ingredients). You’ll use 3/4 of the bar. That’s all but one row of those little squares. Why you ask don’t I just use the whole bar? Because this way it leaves 4 squares for eating. I know you, and you’re going to eat it anyway. And if you don’t, then your kid or husband will steal some before you’re done. Since I’m a real person I account for things like that. Aren’t I great?

Look at these beautiful, delicate morsels:

I adore chocolate. Like, I’m kind of obsessed with it. But I HATE frozen chunks of solid chocolate in ice cream. They’re like little rocks in something that should be creamy and smooth and once it’s frozen, you can’t even really taste it. So that’s why we’re using shaved chocolate and not chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. It’s so tiny that it distributes all the way through the ice cream and when it hits your tongue it just melts into chocolaty goodness. My favorite tool for grating chocolate is this microplane grater. But a regular ol’ cheese grater will suffice just fine.

Add the chocolate shavings into the ice cream when there’s just a few minutes left. If you wait too long and it’s already to thick to really mix it well, just stir them in by hand as you transfer your ice cream into another container. Chill in the freezer for a few hours and then devour.

Fresh, sweet chunks of bright pink cherries, delicate shavings of rich, dark chocolate, and a touch of almond… (If you can’t tell, that’s what the description would say at my ice cream shop :)

And if you’re really wanting a foodgasm, just top it with some of this.

What are you waiting for–go pick some cherries! And then check out this post if you’re not sure what to do with them.

Since I’m sure someone will ask about frozen or canned cherries, yes I’m assuming they’ll work (although I’ve obviously never tried it.) If using frozen, measure fruit while still frozen. If using canned, drain well and then measure out a bit less than the recipe calls for–about 1 1/2 cups. And let me know how it goes!

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